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NewNiceMrMe

BMW Z4 35i sDrive - 1,200 miles

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So I've now covered the grand total of 1,200 miles in the Z. That gives it a total mileage of 6,300.

I've given my thoughts on various bits of the car in numerous threads but now that I've had plenty of time in it, including a 500 mile round-trip to Oxfordshire on motorways, I thought the 1,200 mile mark was a good one at which to write something a little more.

Perhaps I should address the point most people know I've been unhappy with first.

The ride of the Z4, and in this case on 19" alloys with run-flats, is hard. Actually, it's very hard indeed. I've driven a Z4 with 18" wheels on it and I still think it's very hard. Initially this got me to the point of actually going into the dealers and saying I was probably going to be changing the car. That's how bad it got. I also visited the Porsche dealers next door and looked at the 911 C4S that I'd previously driven and was nothing like as bad in ride quality as the Z4.

1,200 miles on and I'm getting used to it. I think the 6 years of owning a GT car didn't help the Z. In some ways I went from one extreme to the other although the 6 was never a soft ride - but it was much more cushioned than the Z. The trip to Oxfordshire also made me realise that a lot of my complaints are largely due to the appalling condition of the roads in Northumberland and parts of Tyneside.

It's still too hard in Comfort mode though. I can understand it in Sport and Sport Plus, but there is no way the car should 'slam' pot holes and send thunderous shudders through the cabin in the way it does. Nor should it make cat eyes seem like concrete bricks when you pass over them as you change lanes. But it does.

There is a plus side to this though - and it's quite a pleasing one in the right conditions. The handling on the car is superb. It seems to love to be thrown about from bend to bend, hunkers down into corners and only in Comfort mode will you get any protest from the rear.

It puts a huge smile on your face the more you push it and I've found the 'edge' of that control to be very easy to gauge so far. I think I know where it is going to snap back and the steering has been impressive.

The engine itself is glorious. I've really fallen for this element of the car and that is a surprise on the basis I thought I'd miss the V8 rumble. I guess I still do, but it has been replaced by a quite mezmeric howl and whistle that is rather loud when you really hit the throttle. The engine seems incredibly lazy until about 2,000 rpm. It pulls along like your average family hatch back with a little hint of bite but nothing more. However, hit just over 2,000 rpm and floor it - and you can physically see the bonnet rise slightly and the car hurtles forward. The twin turbo's really do kick it along very swiftly indeed.

I already know from my own little 'tests' that it is significantly quicker than the 6 in getting to a certain point and in taking on routes I know very well. One particular route I used to tackle in the 6 (a private road, of course) used to take me between 52 and 54 seconds, depending on the weather etc. The Z's first time on it was 49 seconds. It's best is, umm, 44 seconds. That's a big, big, difference and it feels it too.

But neither the handling nor the engine are the best features of the car. They're both excellent, but they're not on par with easily the best manual gearbox I have ever used in a car. In my mind it has now eclipsed the box in my old MX-5. It's that good. Short, solid and so precise. 1st to 2nd, if I was being hyper critical, could be slightly better, but that's only apparent under full throttle.

The exhaust note is nice too. Not glorious, but nice. I plan to change that to a Milltek primary cat-back system anyway and the engine will also be getting remapped, so ultimately in the near future the car should be upgraded from 306 hp to somewhere around the 370-375 hp mark from what I've read and people I've spoken to.

I've not dropped the roof yet and with it now being the month it is I'm unlikely to. However, it insulates the cabin as well as you might expect on a 2 seater roadster. There's a lot of noise though. It's not a cruiser of a car, no way and my trip to Oxford was at best manageable and at worst uncomfortable at times.

My car doesn't have lumbar support and I'm missing that badly. It made the long trip particularly difficult. The seat bolsters are adjustable and they're the memory seats so quite why lumbar can't be standard I've no idea. It's a bit naff of BMW really.

In terms of the rest of the interior though, well it's all very nice indeed and well equipped. I do find the SatNav screen is much more prone to glare than it was in the 6 but that's the design of the "pop up out of the dashboard" type of device it is. 99% of the time it's all good though.

iDrive is on another planet to the 6. Fast, intuitive, and basically it is the system it always should have been (with one major flaw I'll come to later).

The controls are all rather retro-styled but have a fantastic look and quality feel to them. The dash is easy to read, the dials are well placed and apart from the stupid little 'change up and change down' arrows that must have been put there by an idiot with nothing better to do with his time - it's a great place to be. If a little cramped. Yes, I do find it a bit cramped getting in and out and I'm sure I provide lots of entertainment for people watching me at times.

Now, that flaw. Well it is the placement of the iDrive controller. It is slap bang where your arm hovers over in order to reach the gearstick. Not to the left, not the right, not just out of the way so you don't keep pressing it with your elbow/arm accidentally all the time...

Morons. Their designers must have been asleep when they put it there. I reckon I hit it at least once in error every time I drive the car. The reason is simple - the gearstick is short and you sit low, so forget normal car driving positions. So the gap between the top of the gearstick and the top of the iDrive controller isn't much, maybe 3-4" inches at the very most. I can't believe they placed it where they did. Just a couple of inches further forward would have solved it - and putting the buttons that accompany the controller BEHIND it instead of in front of it would have made that possible.

There is zero storage space of any real use of course. A little net behind you, a glovebox and an armrest trimmed in lovely red leather has a small storage area below it - but it's very shallow and you just have to make do with putting things on the passenger seat.

The car seems to get a few admiring looks and I haven't been harassed by chavs in it. So that's a good thing. It doesn't get the level of attention that the 6 first did, and you do get the arseholes in family saloons who seem to think they can intimidate you in your little hairdressers car, but hey - a quick prod of the right pedal usually sees them look rather surprised.

I'm getting 25.9mpg. On the long run it returned 29.4. I thought it might give a bit more than that because even the 6 would give 28 on a long trip, but I guess that's because its engine didn't have to be worked as hard, not to mention the fact it didn't beg to go fast in the way that Z does.

Tank capacity means I get about 300-310 miles out of a fill-up. I'm a bit disappointed in that cos I wanted to get at least the 333 I used to get out of the 6, but then again I'm putting £65 or so in to fill the Z up as opposed to £95 to full the 6 up. In a nutshell - I just wish it had a slightly bigger petrol tank.

In summary I'm pleased with the car.

I'm not absolutely head over heels in love with it and it's not the best car in the world by a very long shot. It's just a very good performing 2 seater roadster that is point-to-point very quick but suffers from an overly harsh ride at times and some silly design niggles.

But, and it's a factor - it does put a huge smile on your face. We couldn't live with it if we didn't have the X5 for all our other trips and I would never recommend it to anyone who did longer trips - you'd not thank me.

It looks good, it goes very well, it'd be a fantastic car if you got a full day out on clear country roads, and it has exceptionally good traction from what I've experienced so far.

So if you want a Z4, buy one and you'll probably love it. Just make sure you have a comfortable car to back it up. I know for certain it isn't a car I'll keep 6 years or even close to that, but it's a good buy, a good car and the performance upgrades should make it border on stupidly quick - and that'll keep me entertained for a while.

Edited by MrMe

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Have you found the storage cubbyhole to the right of the steering wheel, I use that rather than the passenger seat

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Ummmm, no. I'll check for that tomorrow though because I did have a look around there when I got it and couldn't see anything! Cheers.+++

Is it one of those pull-down tray types?

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No storage area on the right of the steering wheel in my car!

Disgraceful! I want my money back! :roflmao:

Maybe yours has the extended storage pack or something? Or maybe it's a 2011 addition? Whatever it is, mine definitely doesn't have it.

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See, another reason to get that 530bhp 911 Turbo we were talking about!

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Yeah, I'm sure MrsMe will be delighted if I say I'm buying that now.:roflmao:

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That dog was barking at the bloody ironing board earlier tonight. It's absolutely bonkers.

It also had a crap in the garden earlier this week and I've never ran so fast in my life chasing the little b*stard around the garden to give it a kick up the arse. Needless to say I didn't catch it.

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It also had a crap in the garden earlier this week and I've never ran so fast in my life chasing the little b*stard around the garden to give it a kick up the arse. Needless to say I didn't catch it.

Where do you want him to crap?

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On the fields when we take HER for a walk!

Anyway...

I drove to Leeds in the car today. A 5.40am journey start led to a 7.40am arrival in the City Centre and it was all rather uneventful.

However, I must admit I didn't feel as uncomfortable on a 2 hour trip as I did on the 4.5 hour one. Maybe the car has a manageable journey-time limit. It still jolted like a bad fairground ride when it hit a pothole (and there are a good few in Leeds) and on a small section of paved road near the hotel I was at it continued to frustrate.

Nonetheless, it's a spirited little thing when those turbos spin up. The stereo really is crap though. Even my favourite Radio 5 Live sounds crap. It distorts way too soon and there seems to be a huge jump in volume from one setting to the next in the mid-volume range. You know, when it's just a little too quiet so you turn it up a notch...and then it's just too loud? Weird.

The speed at which it can take slip roads that wind off and around on themselves is truly impressive though. Lots of fun had there.:grin:

Oh and the noise under heavy acceleration is certainly more than it was prior to the K&N going in it. It's rather addictive in fact. The sort of thing that wants you to hold it just below 3,000 rpm and then boot it up to 5,000 rpm for the fun of it. I am hankering after the remap and Milltek more and more now though - I know this could go from being a very quick car to being a seriously stupid car...and that just begs to be done.

Edited by MrMe

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